The Spain national football team represents Spain in international association football and is controlled by the Royal Spanish Football Federation, the governing body for football in Spain. The current head coach is Vicente del Bosque. The Spanish side is commonly referred to as La Roja (The Red [One]) or La Furia Roja (The Red Fury).
Spain are the current reigning World and European champions, having won the 2010 FIFA World Cup and the 2008 UEFA European Football Championship. Spain also won the 1964 European Nations' Cup and reached the UEFA Euro 1984 Final. In July 2008 Spain rose to the top of the FIFA World Rankings for the first time in the team's history, becoming the sixth nation to top this ranking, and the first nation to top the ranking without previously having won the World Cup. Between November 2006 and June 2009 Spain went undefeated for a record-tying 35 consecutive matches before their loss to the United States, a record shared with Brazil, including a record 15-game winning streak and thus earning third place in the FIFA Confederations Cup. Recently, the team has become known for using a style of play which involves roaming movement and positional interchange amongst midfielders, moving the ball in intricate patterns, and sharp, one- or two-touch passing; this style of play has been dubbed Tiki-taka (or Tiqui-taca). The success of Spain in recent times and their style of play, has helped the Spanish team become a dominant force in world football.
The Real Federación Española de Fútbol (English: Royal Spanish Football Federation) was founded in 1909 and became affiliated with FIFA in 1913. However, the national team did not play a full international match until 1920 when they beat Denmark 1–0 in the Olympic Games. Their first appearance at a major finals was the 1934 World Cup, for which they qualified after 9–0 and 2–1 wins over Portugal. They beat Brazil 3–1 in the first round, before losing 1–0 in a replay to hosts, and eventual champions Italy in Florence. On 3 May 1936 Spain beat Switzerland 2–0 in Bern, in what would prove to be their last game until after the Spanish Civil War in 1941. They would then play only against similarly politically-aligned countries, or Switzerland, Republic of Ireland and Portugal, neutral during World War II until 1949 when they drew 1–1 with Belgium and re-entered FIFA competition.
Euro 2000 and World Cup 2002
After a 3–2 opening defeat to Cyprus in Euro 2000 qualifying, Clemente was fired and José Antonio Camacho was appointed as coach. Spain won the rest of their games to qualify for the final tournament, where they were drawn into Group C. A 1–0 defeat to Norway was followed by victories over Slovenia (2–1) and Yugoslavia (4–3), with Spain thus setting up a quarterfinal against 1998 World Cup champions, France, which was won 2–1 by France.
The qualifying tournament for the 2002 World Cup went as expected for Spain as Spain topped a group consisting of Austria, Israel, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Liechtenstein. In the final tournament Spain won its three matches in group B, against Slovenia, Paraguay (both by 3–1), and South Africa (3–2). Spain beat Republic of Ireland on penalties in the second round, and faced co-hosts Korea Republic in the quarterfinals. Spain twice thought they had scored, but the efforts were disallowed and Korea was successful in the penalty shootout after a 0–0 draw.
The start of a golden era, 2006 World Cup and Euro 2008
Spain qualified for the 2006 World Cup only after a play-off against Slovakia, as they had finished behind Serbia and Montenegro in Group 7, which also included Bosnia and Herzegovina, Belgium, Lithuania, and San Marino. In Group H of the German hosted finals, Spain won all their matches, and beat Ukraine 4–0, Tunisia 3–1 and Saudi Arabia 1–0. However Spain fell 3–1 in the second round to France, with only the consolation of a share, with Brazil, of the 2006 FIFA Fair Play Award.
After being eliminated from the competition, Luis Aragonés came to the decision that the team was not physical or tough enough to be able to out-muscle opponents, they therefore opted to start concentrating on monopolising the ball and thus started to employ the tiki-taka - a style characterised by short passing and movement, working the ball through various channels, and maintaining possession. Raphael Honigstein describes it as "a significant upgrade of the Dutch "total football", a system that relied on players changing positions." The tiki-taka style of play originates with Johan Cruyff's tenure as manager of Barcelona from 1988 to 1996.
Spain qualified for Euro 2008 at the top of Qualifying Group F with 28 points out of a possible 36, and were seeded 12th for the finals. They won all their games in Group D: 4–1 against Russia, and 2–1 against both Sweden and defending champions Greece.
Reigning World Cup holders Italy were the opponents in the quarter final match, and held Spain to a finished 0–0 draw resulting in a penalty shoot-out which Spain won 4–2. Spain met Russia again in the semi-final, again beating them, this time by 3-0.
In the final, played in Vienna's Ernst-Happel-Stadion, Spain defeated Germany 1–0, with a goal scored by Fernando Torres in the 33rd minute. This was Spain's first major title since the 1964 European Championship. Spain were the top scoring team, with 12 goals, and David Villa finished as the top scorer with four goals; Xavi was awarded the player of the tournament, and nine Spanish players were picked for the UEFA Euro 2008 Team of the Tournament
Confederations Cup debut and 2010 World Cup qualification
Luis Aragonés left the manager's role after the Euro 2008 success, and was replaced by Vicente del Bosque.
2008 saw David Villa score 16 goals in 15 games, breaking the Spanish record of 10 goals in one year held by Raúl since 1999. On 11 February 2009, David Villa broke another Spanish record as his 36th-minute goal against England saw him become the first Spanish player to score in six consecutive games. By the start of the tournament, Del Bosque's had ten consecutive wins, making him the first international manager to do so from his debut, breaking Joao Saldanha's record, held since 1969, of nine consecutive wins with Brazil.
Spain won all three of its matches at the group stage, the 5–0 win over New Zealand including a Fernando Torres hat-trick that is the earliest and fastest hat-trick in the tournament's history. With further wins over Iraq (1–0) and South Africa (2–0) they earned not only qualification for the semifinals, but also obtained the world record for 15 consecutive wins and tied the record of 35 consecutive unbeaten games (with Brazil).
On 24 June 2009, Spain's undefeated record ended when the United States beat Spain 2–0 in the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup semi-finals which sent Spain to the third place match. This was Spain's first defeat since 2006. Spain defeated hosts South Africa 3–2 after extra time in the 3rd-place playoff.
On 9 September 2009, Spain secured its place at the 2010 World Cup finals after beating Estonia 3–0 in Mérida. Spain went on to record a perfect World Cup qualifying record with 10 wins out of 10 in Group 5, finishing with a 5–2 victory over Bosnia and Herzegovina on 14 October 2009. The Spaniards entered the 2010 World Cup and won the whole thing
2010 FIFA World Cup Winners
The 2010 World Cup draw, which took place on 4 December 2009, placed Spain in Group H, alongside Switzerland, Honduras, and Chile. Spain lost its first group stage match against Switzerland, 0–1. In their second match they defeated Honduras by 2 goals from David Villa. Their next match against Chile on 25 June was won 2–1. They advanced to the knock-out stage to defeat Portugal 1–0, reaching the quarter-finals, in which they defeated Paraguay 1-0, scoring off of a goal by David Villa who put the ball in the back of the net after struck the ball off the post, reaching the last four for the first time since 1950. They then advanced to the final for the first time ever by defeating the favoured Germany 1-0 via a headed goal from Carles Puyol.
n the final four minutes of extra time during the World Cup final against the Netherlands, Andrés Iniesta scored a single goal from a pass given by Cesc Fabregas, winning the World Cup for Spain for the first time in their history. In this physical match, Spain received 5 yellow cards, while "Oranje" received 9, as well as 1 red card, the highest total of cards for a World Cup final in history. Spain won the World Cup by only scoring 8 goals and conceding 2, which is the lowest by any World Cup winner in both cases. Also, they are the only team not to have conceded a goal in the last four games of the tournament. Spain are the only team that has won the World Cup title after losing its opening game. Spain are only the second team to win a World Cup outside their own continent, following Brazil's wins in Sweden and Korea, which also makes Spain the first European team to win the World Cup outside of Europe.
The 2010 FIFA World Cup squad won the FIFA fair play award while some of its players also won awards. Goalkeeper Iker Casillas won the golden glove for only conceding two goals during the tournament. David Villa won the bronze ball and silver boot, tied for top scorer of the tournament with a total of 5 goals and 1 assist.
- 1 David De Gea
- 1 Victor Valdes
- 25 Pepe Reina
- 1 Iker Casillas
- 17 Alvaro Arbeloa
- 5 Carlos Marchena
- 18 Raul Albiol
- 3 Gerard Pique
- 4 Sergio Ramos
- 5 Carles Puyol
- 38 Joan Capdevila
- 10 Juan Mata
- 24 Javi Martinez
- 16 Sergio Busquets
- 7 Jesus Navas
- 21 David Silva
- 6 Xavi
- 8 Andres Iniesta
- 4 Cesc Fabregas
- 14 Xabi Alonso
- 17 Pedro
- 9 Fernando Llorente
- 7 David Villa
- 9 Fernando Torres